Is Fentanyl Deadlier Than Heroin?


Recognized as the drug that killed Prince, fentanyl is a synthetic opioid, or painkiller, that was first developed in the 1960’s. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that this drug is 50-100 times more powerful than morphine, and The Guardian notes that it is 30-50 times more powerful than heroin; it’s extremely potent and has taken the lives of thousands – the New York Times claims there has been a 540% increase in deaths just within the past 3 years related to fentanyl.

Many drug users are at extreme risks for death when taking a drug that is laced with fentanyl without them knowing; drug dealers may try to incorporate fentanyl into various drug mixtures to increase potency, but Business Insider argues that many don’t pay close enough attention to the amount of fentanyl they put in – placing many at risk for overdose or death. What is the difference between fentanyl and heroin?

The difference lies primarily in their chemical structures; both bind to the mu receptor in the brain, but fentanyl gets there much faster than drugs like heroin and morphine because it can almost instantaneously pass through the fat in the brain. Fentanyl also binds to receptors in the brain so tightly, causing just a tiny amount to have significant effects on the body. Aside from reacting quickly in the body, here are common side effects one may experiencing shortly after consuming the drug:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Analgesia
  • Sedation
  • Respiratory depression

Stated on PBS, fentanyl is like “…injecting yourself with a loaded gun.” The drug has been taken in various forms: gel-tabs, nasal sprays, pills, and more. However, this doesn’t mean that one should consume heroin over fentanyl, as both are dangerous, and neither are ideal. Heroin has also been known as one of the deadliest street drugs in existence, and can also lead to death by respiratory depression.

If you are struggling with addiction, make the decision to seek help today. Recovery is possible, and it’s never too late. Who knows – you could very well save your own life.

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